Posts in

Year: 2009

Capsizing On the Mekong, Luang Prabang, Dec 21-28, 2009

For those Laos purists who are scoffing at us for barely having left Luang Prabang, let us reassure you we did venture out into the stunning countryside for day trips. This included day treks, river cruising, kayaking and a disappointing elephant ‘trek’. Tours in Asia rarely live up to their billing. Customer safety and satisfaction […]

Monk Watch 2009, Luang Prabang, Laos Dec 21-28, 2009

For backpacking adventure types, Laos is the holy grail. Within that you have Luang Prabang, the UNESCO-ed historic capital of Laos, Land of A Million Elephants (now down to 2000 in the wild). It all sounds remote, exotic and largely removed from western trappings. But to say Luang Prabang represents Laos is like saying New […]

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Dec 15-21, 2009

We expect Siem Reap to be a bigger dump than Phnom Penh. Again Cambodia surpises us. It’s buffed clean and built up with western money, largley because of the magnetic pull of Angkor Wat. It’s compact and navigatable, loads of amenities (eg 2hr oil massage with mini facial for $16–sheer heaven) and is so easy […]

A Man For All Countries–Phnom Penh, Dec 12-15, 2009

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Dec 12-15, 2009 First impressions of Phnom Penh aren’t great. We arrive at night, our hotel pick up isn’t there, the tuk tuk drivers swarm us like piranhas, putrid smelling garbage and litter dominate the streets like no other Asian city we’ve seen, and one of the hardest things to deal […]

Doing the Delta….the Mekong Delta and Saigon Dec 3-12, 2009

The Mekong Delta (incl Saigon and Phu Quoc Island) We land in Saigon having been pre-warned it’s chaotic in a way that makes Hanoi look like a German nunnery. Fortunately with expectations as low as they were, we rather liked it. Yes the streets are especially thick with traffic, but they are emblematic of Vietnam—chaotic, […]

Hoi An—-Made to Measure (Nov 28-Dec 2, 2009)

(Views from our hotel, Phu An River) The most powerful website in the travel industry must be Tripadvisor.com. We, and many others don’t make a booking without researching and this is likely our first line of defense. Hoteliers beg us to review them positively. And the Midas kiss in the most holy of books, is […]

Tomb Raiding on Two Wheels, Hue, Nov 25-28, 2009

The Citadel in Hue       As fascinating and mindblowing as Vietnam can be, it`s a spender`s nightmare. From any street corner to decent hotel, this country shops, sells and hawks as good as any. Yet it`s not always a relaxed experience. It`s a safe assumption that as a traveller, any interaction involving money […]

Heavenly Halong Bay Nov 21-23, 2009

Halong Bay if you believe the Vietnamese, is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. It has a UNESCO stamp to back it up, plus there is nary a soul anywhere who will tell you that its overblown and overrated. The 2000 drop-dead gorgeous limestone pinnacles rise from the emerald coloured Gulf Of […]

H1N1 In Hanoi and Mao vs Ho

Presidential Palace Temple of Literature Hanoi, Nov 14-21 and 24 Well before one lands in Vietnam, you are forewarned and buried with redflags and alerts about touts, scams, thieves, annoyances, dangers and cheats. Indeed we saw evidence of this immediately after hitting the arrivals area when teams of young men plied us with questionable offers. […]